Lewisburg Woman Charged with TennCare Fraud

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Authorities have charged a Lewisburg woman with TennCare fraud for allegedly selling pills obtained using benefits of TennCare, the state’s healthcare insurance program.

The Office of Inspector General this week announced the arrest of Melissa Culwell of Marshall County. The arrest is the result of a joint effort with the Smithville Police Department, the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department, and the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, according to a press release.

Culwell is charged with one count of knowingly selling drugs she obtained through the use of her boyfriend’s TennCare benefits. The case is being prosecuted by District Attorney Robert J. Carter of Marshall County.

“Investigators say Culwell signed for and picked up a prescription for 120 tablets of the painkiller Percocet which had been prescribed for her boyfriend. Agents say Culwell knew the pills were provided through her boyfriend’s Medicare and Medicaid benefits. Culwell subsequently admitted to selling the drugs on the street and keeping the profits for herself,” according to a press release.

“TennCare Fraud is a Class D felony.  If convicted, Culwell could face penalties of up to a maximum of 12 years in prison.”

As The Tennessee Star reported last month, authorities charged a North Carolina resident, Julie Carpenter, with a similar offense.

The arrest was the result of a joint effort with the Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office of North Carolina.  Authorities transported her to the sheriff’s office of Johnson County, Tenn. where they have her housed, according to a press release.

Carpenter is charged with one count of obtaining benefits through TennCare despite not qualifying for the program and one count of theft of services over $10,000, the press release went on to say.

As The Tennessee Star also reported, TennCare officials announced the arrest of an Arkansas woman, also on TennCare fraud charges.

According to a state press release, authorities say this Arkansan, Karen Wilson-Hicks, 52, moved from Tennessee but she knowingly did not report her new address. She allegedly did this to remain enrolled in the state healthcare insurance program.

Tennessee residency is an essential requirement for TennCare eligibility.

As reported, a Mississippi woman allegedly committed more than $250,000 worth of TennCare fraud, and she must pay that money back.

As The Star reported in July, authorities were investigating 16 people in Georgia for receiving benefits from Tennessee’s Medicaid program.

Those 16 Georgians likely couldn’t get health care coverage in their home state.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]

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2 Thoughts to “Lewisburg Woman Charged with TennCare Fraud”

  1. […] The Tennessee Star reported earlier this month, authorities charged a Lewisburg woman with TennCare fraud for allegedly selling […]

  2. 83ragtop50

    To heck with the prison time. How about getting the money back and stopping the rampant TennCare fraud? Just another welfare rat hole with less than sufficient accountability.

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